There are many people in our community working to create positive change to end sexual violence. We want to meet as many of them as possible. If you would like to submit a recommendation, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We have short lives, but we have the ability to make them wide with love and compassion. If we all take this attitude, imagine what the world will be like! –Erin Douget
1. What is your relationship with STAR?
ED: I began volunteering as a hotline advocate in September 2014 and I am also a member of the Prevention Action Coalition, which focuses their attention on the prevention of sexual violence.
2. What led you to get involved with STAR and/or join the movement to end sexual violence?
ED: I experienced an incident of sexual molestation at a young age during a very chaotic time period for myself and my family. I did not acknowledge this trauma until I was in college. I also remember the moment that I learned many of my friends had experienced some form of sexual violence. This number was incredible to me and made the high statistics of sexual violence a concrete concept. I knew that the only way for me to turn these horrible memories into forces for good was to get involved with the movement. I hope that sharing my story and encouraging change in society’s perception of sexual violence will enable at least one person suffering in the dark to find hope, healing, and peace.
3. What do you find most rewarding about your participation in this movement?
ED: The most rewarding aspect is when I am on the hotline with a caller and I hear some form of ease in their voice. A lot of times, people who call the hotline simply need someone to listen and acknowledge that they are not alone and that they are believed by somebody. If I can get them to realize that they have taken very important steps towards a healthier future, I feel like Superwoman!
4. What motivates you to keep going when things get difficult or discouraging?
ED: Whenever I see an article in the newspaper that features a story about sexual violence or an interview on TV with a survivor, it is just more motivation for me to get out there and try to be a voice that encourages change. I have always been inspired by how much the human spirit can endure, so I think about all the survivors who live in the dark and I remind myself that I can be the momentum they need to step into the light.
5. What are some simple, day-to-day ways you promote positive change in our community, outside of your work duties?
ED: I promote positive change by having an open and questioning attitude towards anyone who enters my life. This goes back to the ripple effect. If I am trying to learn all that I can about this issue and keep a healthy dialogue open in my everyday life, then that may be the jumping off point for someone else. Similarly, if I exhibit a no-tolerance policy for offensive and unhealthy views, that may inspire another person to examine their own opinions and determine that they must also take a stand. We really never know just how our attitudes can influence others.
6. What advice would you give to someone who is hesitant about becoming an active member of this movement?
ED: I think that people don’t realize how important any action can be towards building a healthy and happy future. Something as small as telling a friend that they are not alone and recommending healthy steps can do something as significant as saving their life. We have short lives, but we have the ability to make them wide with love and compassion. If we all take this attitude, imagine what the world will be like!